Monday, January 25, 2016

Nine Lives of Teaching in the 21st Century

Cheer up Kids -- They Look Like Shitakes!

In the past week I heard the Governor of Michigan -- whose incompetence led to the City of Flint being poisoned with leaded water -- accuse Detroit teachers of "hurting children" with their sick out strikes against school buildings with no heat, locked gyms, collapsing ceilings, missing floor tiles, urinals swimming with maggots and mushrooms growing from interior walls. Apparently millionaire douchebag Governor Snyder sees closing these schools for a few days as hurting kids more than say drinking poisoned water or forcing 5 year olds to spend the day in an unheated classroom in January in Michigan. And when he told the ABC reporter that this was his message to Detroit teachers do you think the guy challenged him on the statement? Why would he. Everyone knows the damage teachers are doing with their unions, their 14 year old Dodge minivans, sensible shoes and pilly cardigan sweaters. 

Once while flipping through a James Herriot book I stumbled on a passage where he was treating an abused cat someone had brought him in the hope of saving the thing. The veterinarian author then engaged in a little sidebar about cats. For whatever reason, he marveled, there is something particularly vexing about cats to people who abuse animals. More than any other animal it seems people reserve their darkest savagery for these beasts in particular and act almost as if they have a right to rain every last fibre of their cruelty on cats. Any number of theories can be called into play here and I am especially reminded of a Voltaire remark that the man who despises cats does so because he is a tyrant who can't bend a cat to his will. 

In light of the decade or so long trend we've seen in this country of blaming teachers for everything from low test scores to the price of crude oil I can't help but see a similarity between the rank and file classroom grunt and Bootsie the domestic shorthair. 

These days it feels like the teaching ranks might just as well be scratching around in a litter box and chasing little balls of string across the kitchen floor. Like cats teachers are small in stature and easily overwhelmed by superior force. While the mainstream media loves few phrases more than the oxymoronic clunker of  "powerful teacher unions" we all know there is no such thing. Not in this country anyway.  National leadership is owned and operated by the Democrats whose anti union pogroms under Obama for the past 7 years have shown W. Bush up as a piker and rank amateur in the privatization and union busting games. The Presidents of our two largest teacher unions work with the corporate ed reform movement and against the interests of rank and file teachers at every turn. They both moved quickly to endorse a candidate for President who offered to close schools if she thought they weren't meeting an arbitrary standard. (Hint: when you're the president of a teacher's union and your candidate's first solution for  helping a struggling school is to close it, something is seriously fucked up.) 

Instead of fighting the intrusions of Bill Gates and Common Core into the classroom Weingarten and Eskelsen created fake surveys and produced fraudulent data claiming teachers looooove Common Core and can't get enough of it. Instead of allowing teacher input into matters like which Presidential candidate the union should endorse they created some more fake data and gathered all of their truckling castle Orcs to stand up and vote Yea when they flashed Hillary's craggy visage on a screen. Teacher unions abuse what power they have to benefit the leadership cone of the pyramid and crush all of the serfs below it who pay dues and teach kids for a living. Ergo the term powerful teacher union can take its place alongside jumbo shrimp, compassionate conservative and military intelligence. 

So, like Fluffy and Mr. Sock, teachers will continue to vex the tyrants of the world especially people like Gates and Gov. Snyder, guys with millions who only appreciate others with millions and others willing to kiss the asses of those with millions. I see the same infuriated expressions on the faces of Board Members Paladino and Quinn here in B-lo when the small people fail to know their place and actually question them on their motives and actions. Never forget the hemorrhoidal angst of Lars Quinn when irksome and catlike BTF Secretary Gibson dared to question the Board's motives and Buffalo Police were employed to drag Gibson out by the scruff of his neck. 

In lieu of collecting on a powerball ticket, being given an office building by a father in law or reaping a windfall on the sale of a pro sports franchise you've destroyed we're going to have to keep meowing to be let out and refusing to come when they call us. It's what cats do best. When the dust of Friedrichs settles, as we all know it will soon, maybe we can cut off some of the dead weight dragging us down and keeping us in the dark and set about building a powerful teacher union. We'll know we have a powerful teacher union when the Buffalo News stops telling everyone how powerful we are. Until then, Meow. 

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